Category: Mercy

The Harmony of Amoris Laetitia and Veritatis Splendor

You often find the charge among critics of Pope Francis that his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, is opposed to Pope John Paul’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor. The differences between the two are exaggerated in order to set these two documents of the papal magisterium against each other; Amoris Laetitia against Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II against Pope Francis, Pope Francis supposedly against tradition. Veritatis Splendor, according to this narrative, is the strong, bold, defense of...

Papal critics: embrace Mercy!

“God has imprisoned all human beings in their own disobedience only to show mercy to them all.” — Rm 11:32 (NJB) When Pope Francis ended his Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016, he issued an apostolic letter entitled Misericordia et Misera, dedicated to the theme of mercy. In this letter, His Holiness extended permission to any priest to validly grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance with people who had procured an abortion (before this...

Showing mercy towards traditionalists

“Respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued” — Pope St. John Paul II Ecclesia Dei, #6.b Semina verbi It is undeniable that much of the resistance to Pope Francis’ magisterium, reforms, and pontificate comes from some Church quarters with a certain traditionalist leaning. In fact, one must also acknowledge that this resistance...

The Pope Francis Generation

I’m too young to have known John Paul II. He died before I cared about Jesus, let alone the pope. Benedict was pope during my conversion at the end of high school and during college. But I was too deeply entrenched in culture war stuff to care much about what the pope had to say. Back in college I binged listened to Catholic Answers. I read The Catholic Thing pretty much daily. I regularly read...

The Stupid Shepherd

What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little...

John Calvin and Communion in the Hand

John Calvin, the Reformation theologian in Geneva who lead the development of Protestant theology, was nothing if not a brilliant mind. Calvin’s contributions to the history of theology are almost always wrong, but they are so skillfully wrong that I cannot help but be impressed by their intricacy. One example of this is Calvin’s perception of the numinous, a concept not elucidated until 1917 by the Lutheran Rudolf Otto. In his most famous work, The...

Hedge Maze

A Moral Maze

Over the past couple of weeks, Where Peter Is has featured some articles presenting dueling metaphors about Christian freedom, conscience, and the place of other people in informing conscience. Paul Fahey first drew a picture of a garden, walled by God, in the middle of a wasteland. He suggested that there should be complete freedom of movement within this garden, and that though some people may find a need to limit themselves further to avoid...

Pope Francis’ “Dangerous” View of Conscience

George Weigel complains that “voices have been heard urging a view of conscience that is curious, even dangerous.” What view of conscience could that be? Weigel describes it like this: Under certain circumstances, conscience may permit or even require that a person choose acts that the Church has consistently taught are intrinsically wrong—such as using artificial means of contraception, or receiving Holy Communion while living the married life in a union that’s not been blessed...

When Mercy Saved Me

“Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” -Divine Mercy in My Soul, paragraph 301 “I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) I am an addict. The matter of my addiction is between God and me but, because there is a Church and I am a part of it, it’s also between...

Walford presents Francis with a Southampton football jersey.

Interview with Catholic author Stephen Walford, Part 2

(Click here to read Part 1) Today we continue our interview with Stephen Walford, author of the upcoming book Pope Francis, The Family and Divorce: In Defense of Truth and Mercy, which will be released by Paulist Press on August 28. In part 1 we discussed the abuse crisis, Walford’s background as a musician and a writer, and began to discuss the division in the Church that has followed Pope Francis’s teaching on marriage and the...

Walford with the pope

Interview with Catholic author Stephen Walford, Part 1

Ever since he burst onto the the scene in January 2017 with a 5000-word essay in La Stampa entitled “Amoris Laetitia: Where Truth and Mercy Embrace,” Catholic writer Stephen Walford has found himself at the center of the often heated debate in the Church over Pope Francis and his teachings. Coming on the heels of the publication of five questions (or dubia) from four cardinals who have openly challenged the orthodoxy and authority of the...

Rawlins Brothers

The death penalty and the mystery of mercy

Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, my great-great-grandfather, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Rawlins, was engaged in a feud in South Georgia with a man named William L Carter. Rawlins was a farmer and a former Baptist preacher with five children, while Carter (also a farmer...

The Foolish Mercy of Accompaniment

For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25) Step back for a minute and think about what we believe as Catholics. The...

Why I Trust the Pope

I have the firm conviction that, since at least 1939, the Church of Rome has been led by saints in the persons of the Roman Pontiffs. Some may mock it, deride it, think it naive, or whatever they like; but it seems right and fitting to me that the Lord would ensure us such holy leadership in such an unprecedented time of cultural, social, philosophical, theological, and anthropological, upheaval. In other words, right when we...

Misunderstanding Veritatis Splendor: A reply to E. Christian Brugger

Veritatis Splendor has always been the favorite encyclical of those who are unhappy with the theological direction of Pope Francis.  It is their source of authority for their condemnations of Amoris Laetitia especially. In one recent example, E. Christian Brugger pits Pope John Paul’s Veritatis Splendor against Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia in an article published and hosted by National Catholic Register called ‘Amoris Laetitia’ vs. ‘Veritatis Splendor’: You Say You Want a Revolution?. The subtitle is:...

Responsible parenthood as a corporal work of mercy

A few years ago Pope Francis made headlines by saying that Catholics did not have to ‘be like rabbits’. “That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is a an irresponsibility That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that — excuse the language — that...